Effective Jan. 1, Leander water customers will be charged under a new water billing system based on how much water a residential customer uses. Leander City Council approved this change Oct. 12.

The tiered-rate system aims to encourage water conservation and is based on a recommendation from a 2021 city water rate study. While rates will increase for high water users, about 83% of residential water customers will see a decrease in their water bills, city Finance Director Robert Powers said Oct. 12.

Based on 2020 usage, 87 customers will see an average increase of $50 or more per month, and 959 accounts will see an increase of $10 or more per month without a change in usage.

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Leander water customers who are outside city limits will see similar changes. Customers who use up to 15,000 gallons of water will see a 7.4% rate decrease. Customers who use 15,001-25,000 gallons will see an 18.1% increase, and customers who use more than 25,001 gallons will see a 42.6% increase in water rate without a change in usage.

Other utility changes

City Council approved other water billing changes Oct. 12, including changes to the senior and disabled persons discount and changes in monthly sewer charges.

The water discount that senior citizens and disabled persons receive increased from 10% to 20% on the fixed monthly charge on each bill.

Leander previously gave a 10% discount on total water bills. The new discount applies only to the fixed monthly charge and does not apply to the usage portion of the bill. These customers who use less than 8,250 gallons per month will see a greater discount.

The third change effective Jan. 1 is sewer rate calculations. The city previously calculated city sewer rates with a fixed monthly charge based on a customer’s three-month average during the prior January, February and March. The new calculation drops the highest-usage month.

This change aims to reduce customer inquiries in March over the calculation method, Powers said. This method was also used during the February winter storm.